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Search engine optimization & your Web host

Choosing a Web host provider for your site is no small decision. When you  make a choice of a Web page host, you are actually placing your Internet  business in the hands of your Web host provider. Choosing the wrong Web page  hosting plan can cause permanent damage to your search engine placement.

Selecting a Web page host is like renting an office. You want to get it right  the first time. It is always possible to move somewhere else, but it's no easy task to move your entire business - not to mention the damage that already could be caused by then. 

We are going to look at some little known facts about Web page hosting and how it can effect your search engine placement:


Web host providers that will ruin your search engine  placement:

Did you submit your site over and over again without ever getting it indexed in the search engines? Or was your site indexed, but is nowhere to be found when  you are typing your search terms into the engines?  Your Web host provider might be the cause of that!

Note this quite interesting statement about Web hosting from one of the major  search engines, AltaVista:

"If being  found via search engines is important to your business, be very careful about where you have your pages hosted. If the hosting service also hosts spammers and pornographers, you could wind up being penalized or excluded."

AltaVista is not the only search engine enforcing this policy against certain  Web page host services. This is a common practice causing many sites to lose rank while the Webmasters are wondering why. Choosing the right host for your  Web hosting needs is of great importance if you really care about your search  engine position.

Here is a short list of things to watch out for:

  • Shared IP hosting. Many Web hosting services are not giving out unique IP addresses to customers. The name-based system of virtual Web hosting  allows multiple domains to be hosted by a single IP. This means several hundred  domain names could all be using the same IP address. Are you sharing an IP address with people you don't even know?

    If someone else that is hosted on the same server as your site gets banned on a search engine, then your Web  site will be caught and banned as well. This is happening on a regular basis and  causing serious problems for those who are affected.

  • Downtime. It goes without saying. If your Web host provider cannot keep servers up and running 24/7, people will not be able to find your site. The search engine spiders won't find it either. They will assume your site is gone  and remove it from the search engine index. Then you will have to resubmit and wait weeks or months for the spider to  re-index your site. If your site already is indexed and ranking well, it might lose it's position  altogether.

    No matter what web host provider you are using, I highly recommend signing up for a free site monitoring service like EasyMonitor. This guarantees that you're alerted within minutes when your site goes down. This enables you to get to work immediately to solve the problem and dramatically increase the time your site is up and running, earning money for you.

    The  speed and reliability of your Web host provider will depend on several factors: Look for a Web page host with A T3 Connection (or better) close to a primary  Internet backbone, safeguards against systems, network or power failure, several  connections to the Internet (in case one goes down), backup power supplies and  "uptime guarantee" with at least 95% uptime.

  • No logs. Access to raw web log files  is one feature often missing with low quality Web hosting services. Some Web host providers are providing logs, but do not include referrer information. Others are deleting logs frequently, making it impossible to use them  effectively. Make sure your Web hosting service gives you access to raw server logs, preferably in "Extended Common Log File Format", a standard that can be  understood by most log analyzers.

    The server logs will give you some valuable information  for your search engine optimization work, including what search engines people are using to find your site, exactly which keywords they are typing into the search box, and  when the search engine spiders visit your site. This is crucial information. You cannot properly optimize your site without it.
Have you ever done a search in Google for a  highly competitive search term? Did you notice any sites hosted on free hosting services and shared domains among the top results?Sites hosted by free Web hosts are not likely to get a high ranking for competitive keywords. If you are serious about your search engine placement, you should make sure your site is hosted by a search engine friendly Web host.

What else to look for when choosing a Web host provider? Daily back up of  your data, high bandwidth and, of course, the quality of their support services. In addition, you must consider the features offered by the Web page host. Some  features to consider are: The space available for your site, monthly transfer  limits, POP mail server availability, support for CGI, SSI, Perl, databases and  FrontPage 2000 extensions, secure server access (SSL), anonymous FTP and  shopping cart software.




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